Jesi Pace-Berkeley Artist in Residence
Brought by Don and Catherine Bryan Cultural Arts Series

Artist Jesi Pace-Berkeley dovetailed a show at Glen and Pat Eure's Ghostfleet Gallery with an artist in residency with several Dare County Schools in January. She characterizes her artwork, primarily watercolor, as "painting big, bold, layered looks ... I paint emotions."  Her time here was the product of a collaboration forged by John Tucker, Chairman of the Don and Catherine Bryan Cultural Series. 

She spent time with art students at First Flight Middle School, Cape Hatteras Secondary, and First Flight High. Although she had planned to visit Manteo Middle School, and had on her agenda a two-day session with Manteo High, she had to cancel MMS due to illness and MHS because of a scheduling conflict. FFHS students had two days of instruction - at the Gallery and then at school. The instruction was jam-packed with nuggets to improve and expand technique, and liberate students from tradition. 

She encouraged student to use their whole bodies, use various mediums, turn their work upside down, use big brushes, and use their non-dominant hand. "It wants to draw, too!"

With her came a cart loaded with materials. "Use the paint! Use the big brushes!" She was a fountain of encouragement to the students to diversify and experiment.

Pace-Berkeley said she was "Impressed with the creative expressions and unique voice of each student, I am amazed by the positive reception to watercolor instruction in each school I visited.

"Students had no trouble meeting high expectations as they embraced the creative risk in employing non traditional techniques, as well as review and implementation of necessary fundamentals. I sensed a true commitment to the visual arts by administrators, parents, instructors and especially the creative youth as we worked in co-operative atmospheres.

"The sense of energy was awesome and not only did peer teaching occur, my utmost goal was achieved in that every finished project was completely unique!" 

FFHS art teacher Jenna Saunders reflected on the two days her students spent with Pace-Berkeley. "Jesi's art was inspiring. As soon as my class and I walked into the gallery all I could hear was 'wow, these are huge!'

The size, color, and expressiveness of her work brought us all in with eagerness to look and wander around the gallery. Jesi involved my students immediately with interesting ways to get them to understand the details of portrait art, and how to develop these skills

When she came to the school her unconventional and expressive techniques grasped my students attention. They all were working so creatively and gave me great feedback the next day. This was truly a wonderful experience for my students
 and inspiring for me as a teacher and artist. 

I am very thankful for John Tucker [Chairman of the Don and Cathryn Bryan Cultural Series] who lined up this visit and contacted us about this opportunity. I look forward to more experiences such as this in our schools.

"It's all about communication," says Pace-Berkeley. Judging from the reactions of students across the district, mission accomplished.